A run down of the New York Jets UDFA class…
Sterling Johnson, NT, Coastal Carolina
6’4”, 280 lbs
A Clemson graduate transfer, Johnson is a former top recruit who had offers from programs such as Alabama, Notre Dame, and Florida State. Johnson played Nose Tackle at Coastal Carolina, but will likely transition to 3-4 Defensive End with the Jets due to his weight. Johnson was a team captain at Coastal Carolina and seems to embody the leadership qualities that Jets GM Joe Douglas values. The Jets already have sufficient depth on the defensive line, but perhaps Johnson can challenge Kyle Phillips for a roster spot.
Dominique Davis, DT UNC Pembroke
6’3”, 315 lbs
Over half of the teams in the NFL scouted Davis in person–an impressive achievement for a Division II prospect. Davis emerged as one of the team’s main leaders in the 2019 season and was one of its best players. He was one of the first UDFAs the Jets signed, signaling that he was one of their top priorities. Both Davis and Johnson are poised to enter a crowded defensive line room, and it will be an uphill battle to get a practice squad spot, let alone a spot on the 53 man roster.
Lamar Jackson, CB – Nebraska
6’2”, 208 lbs
A projected late round pick, Lamar Jackson possesses rare physical traits, but needs significant improvement in order to become a rosterable corner, especially on a team with cornerback depth such as the New York Jets. Jackson projects best in a press-man scheme where he can showcase his physicality. That being said, Jackson’s lateral mobility, explosiveness, and change of direction skills are severely lacking. If Jackson can sit on the Jets’ practice squad for his rookie year, he might be able to compete for a roster spot in Year 2.
Javelin Guidry, CB – Utah
5’9”, 191 lbs
Guidry is by far my favorite Jets UDFA signing, so much so that I think Guidry could be a long term successor to Brian Poole. Guidry thrives in the slot in man coverage and has no issues sticking in the hip pocket of even the fastest slot receivers he faced. Although Guidry is a physical specimen, there appears to be a disconnect between his physique and his functional strength. It would be prudent for Guidry to add 5-10 lbs of muscle in order to more effectively shed blockers in the run game, disrupt releases at the line of scrimmage, and contest the catch point. Guidry projects as an immediate gunner on special teams and sub-package nickel corner. Out of all of the UDFAs, I am most optimistic about Guidry.
Lawrence Cager, WR – Georgia
6’5”, 220 lbs
Cager brings a power forward mentality to playing wide receiver and thrives in contested catch situations. He has a history of injury issues (2016 knee injury, 2019 ankle injury) and projects as a unidimensional receiver in the NFL. The two most likely deployments for Cager are as an X receiver in the red zone and as a blocker on runs or screens. Given that the Jets drafted arguably the best blocking receiver in the Draft (Mims), I doubt that Cager earns a roster or practice squad spot, but he will be an interesting name to watch in the preseason.
Bryce Huff, LB – Memphis
6’2”, 254 lbs
A high effort edge rusher and poor edge setter, Huff occupies the same niche as Jets OLB Frankie Luvu. Built low to the ground, Huff has a natural pad level advantage over opposing Tackles. Although he is a bit predictable as a rusher, Huff will be an interesting guy to watch in the second half of each preseason game. The 53 man roster seems out of reach, and making the practice squad would be a victory.